Woolcombe.jpg Woolcombe Terrace sign (2009). Mike Gooch. Word on the Street image collection.

Woolcombe Terrace in New Plymouth is a misspelling of Woollcombe.

Thomas Woollcombe Esq. was managing director and secretary to the Plymouth Company.  He was also a solicitor and the Town Clerk for the Borough of Devonport.

The Plymouth Company began in 1840 after Woollcombe had circulated an impressive looking prospectus to important people in Devon and Cornwall stating that land would be bought from the New Zealand Company for settlement.

The New Zealand Journal of October 30, 1841 reported Woollcombe as having delivered some highly interesting and instructive lectures to emigrants about to proceed to Taranaki. We can probably surmise there was a good deal of propaganda involved.

In fact Thomas Woollcombe's weakness was the big promise, so he convinced numbers of settlers to go to New Plymouth with the conviction that they would be given land on arrival, which was not always the case.

Apparently Mr Woollcombe was a great letter writer and kept up correspondence with several Taranaki settlers.

John George Cooke Esq. wrote from New Plymouth on the 16 April, 1842 after receiving a letter carried on the Timandra:

"My dear Woollcombe, , ... I am truly grateful, ...likewise for the vine cuttings, although I am sorry to say they are all dead and consequently useless. I have sent Calmady an approved method of conveying cuttings and plants to the colonies, and which has been attended with success, and I look for a larger importation about next November."

We don't know if Cooke eventually got his vines, but it does give some indication of communication with the United Kingdom and the process of settlement. 

This story was originally published in the Taranaki Daily News.

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